DEAR Project - 

protecting Lunar Space hardware from the Moon's dust 

- European Space Agency -

DEAR dusty environment application research: project aiming to study the risk of handling and operating mechanism in dusty environments

Interest in lunar exploration has regained thrust in recent years around the world. ESA, NASA, the private industries and the academic sector strive to explore the Earth’s satellite with ambitious new technologies. However, the hostile environment of the Moon, in particular the lunar dust, is a serious challenge. Being highly abrasive, electrically chargeable and potentially chemically reactive, lunar dust poses a high risk on the performance of any hardware on site operations. Thus, the target of the ESA funded DEAR project is to systematically evaluate potential performance risks on fundamental necessary components like optical sensors, mechanisms, seals and thermal control. 

Within different test scenarios, potential aging is measured, the transport of regolith is studied and simulated. Based on the results, cleaning strategies are developed, tested and evaluated. The baseline is a variety of different dust and regolith simulates like TUBS. Results shall support input to requirements justification and later verification. Some of the experimental results help to better address raw material mining, preprocessing and transport mechanisms, functionality and lifetime. Furthermore, design guidelines and safety handling considerations for on-ground Regolith handling are developed.

The presentation introduces the international team approach led by Microelectronica and OHB with the partner Uni Dublin, Uni Norway, OeWF, Fraunhofer IST and Uni Hawaii. Simulation studies, test setups and first results are presented in the talk. 


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40 ani de Microelectronica